The Art of Apology
It may be de rigueur in this day and age to expect an apology when you’ve been wronged. Nonetheless, apologies are being offered less and less in the dynamic of human relationships.
To proceed in life after causing obvious upset to another person and expect everything to “be ok” — to return to business as usual without an apology — is unacceptable. Hurt that goes unacknowledged accumulates over time to the credit of both parties, the offender and the victim. This accumulation causes irreparable harm to a relationship by constructing a wall of mistrust on the one side and a sense of entitlement and disrespect on the other.
Why is it so difficult for a person to acknowledge they’ve hurt another by uttering those three simple words, “I am sorry?” I’d venture to speculate that in this age of instant turnaround times, internet speeds topping 54 megabits per second and disposable everythings, people have become accustomed to their lives moving with such speed and efficiency that their minds accept an apology “goes without saying.” Much like reading a story that’s missing every second word or has its letters scrambled, our minds comprehend its meaning nonetheless.
But an apology is about more than mollifying the offended party. A heartfelt apology demonstrates remorse for the behavior that caused the hurt. It demonstrates the offender has considered their actions and the resulting consequences and is accepting responsibility for causing pain. Even in an instance where the offender is not sorry for their actions, they can express remorse for the effect their actions had on the harmed party.
Those three little words can work miracles if given voice. They should never be assumed or be made to subsist within the rush of our daily lives.
Take the time. Say the words. And mean them.